An Alternative Ulster: A campaign to place a blue plaque at historic punk venue gathers pace

When Stiff Little Fingers, Belfast’s most internationally acclaimed Punk Rock band, played at the legendary Trident in Bangor in late 1977, little did they know that their establishment-bating punk rock ways would still be causing ructions 40 years on.

Punk historian Dee Wilson, author of The Punk Trilogy, recently proposed that a blue plaque should be placed at a Bangor venue once known as Trident, to commemorate a seminal Stiff Little Fingers gig which happened there in 1977. However, the Ulster Historical Circle, the not-for-profit organisation that places the commemorative plaques throughout Ulster, states that they have no intention of erecting a plaque.

Now Wilson is taking the fight online with a petition which he hopes will draw attention to his campaign to finally see the venue recognised with a plaque. Wilson believes the gesture would not only commemorate the seminal live event, but pay tribute to the way in which the Belfast punk scene united Catholic and Protestant youths during The Troubles in 1970s.

Wilson says: “We chose the Trident because it has been immortalised in the Stiff Little Fingers 1978 Youth Anthem - 'Alternative Ulster.' However, there are separate arguments for a number of others locations! You could start with The Viking, and I don’t think many would argue with that – then, there is the Glenmachan where Rudi held their Jubilee Party – Paddy Lambs, where Stiff Little Fingers and The Outcasts made their live debuts. Then, of course, there is what became the home of Belfast Punk The Harp Bar, not forgetting the Pound Club, Caroline Music and last but not least, Good Vibrations.

They all played an important role in the Punk Movement, a Movement that brought down class, social, religious and sexual barriers. We would love a plaque erected at each of these spots and who knows, we might just go down that road at a later date - but for now we are concentrating on one battle at a time."

Rudi's Brian Young put it succinctly at the time, saying: "Punk wasn't about Catholic vs Protestant. It was about The Clash vs THe Sex Pistols."

Stiff Little Fingers’ frontman Jake Burns says: “I think it’s only reasonable that one of the bright spots in a fairly dark time in Northern Ireland’s history should be commemorated. We’re all too willing to put up reminders of things that divided us, so surely it’s only right that something that helped bring young people together should be celebrated as well.”

Sign the petition here:


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